What are my reasons behind voting Labour this Thursday?
As is traditional during election campaigning all the political parties present similar desires but different methods to achieve those same goals. For instance, all the politicians are promising to pump money into the NHS and increase the numbers of police officers. However, the Labour Party pledges some additional policies which, if delivered upon, I think can really benefit the country. There are also a number of other issues which have brought me to consider that right now after seven years it is time to return to a Labour Government.
Renationalise the Railways
Have you been on a train in recent years? That train will probably be delayed. If you need to use it at peak time then you probably won’t get a seat and you’ll feel a lot like a sardine in a tin. In addition the price of your train ticket goes up every year with no change to the standard of your service. This happens whilst the companies responsible for delivering your shoddy trip to work rake in huge profits.
A friend of mine recently complained about an overcrowded train to Arriva Trains Wales’ Twitter account. She was met by a generic response blaming limited rolling stock availability. This from a company who made nearly £30million worth of profit in 2016. Whilst ticket prices continue to rise, the service deteriorates. Imagine if those profits were pumped back into the service instead of lining the pockets of shareholders?
Renationalise Royal Mail
Ever wondered why you get so much junk mail through your letterbox each week? This is because companies pay vast amounts of money to Royal Mail to deliver these to every household. Does this money go back into the service? No. Just like the railways, profits go to shareholders. Now these do include employees who also have some shares and benefit from the company doing well. However they would happily forgo having to carry back breaking weights of leaflets and pizza menus on a weekly basis.
BBC News reported that Royal Mail’s pre-tax profits rose to £335m in the year to 26 March 2017. I’m sure the shareholders appreciate this but again, imagine if that money was reinvested in what used to be a public service. Having mail delivered to every address in the UK is a necessity. Hospital appointments, energy bills, important correspondence all need to be delivered. An extra £300million invested into the service could mean more jobs and also lessen the burden on postmen who have to contend with the growth of internet shopping.
The Labour Party have been very open about their desire to raise taxes. However this policy will only affect the top 5% of earners. I’m sure they’ll survive. Similarly they are looking to raise corporation tax. This increase to 26% will still be a lower rate than it was in 2010. It will also be lower than the USA, Argentina and Australia, for example. Whilst some countries do indeed have lower rates of corporation tax, do they have the infrastructure and skilled workforce to support their business? The Conservative Party will look to lower corporation tax but still promise extra money for the NHS and security services. This explains why their manifesto included no costings.
Tory Manifesto and Social Care
Even with the benefit of knowing in advance of a need to prepare a manifesto, the final product from the Conservatives has been ridiculed for failing to include any costings for their plans. Labour however included a document which demonstrated that theirs had been fully costed. Then came the social care u-turn. First there was no cap mentioned. Then there would be a £100,000 cap. On Friday evening that £100,000 was now a floor. I know I’m confused. Is this really a party that can be trusted to solve social care?
Let’s not forget that under the Tory government the desire to deliver a seven day NHS has been so badly handled we saw junior doctors on strike. This plan has seemingly been abandoned for the time being. Instead Teresa May has decided to pursue a vote that would lift the ban on fox hunting. Therefore instead of concentrating on planning changes to social care she has chosen to pursue the barbaric practice of hunting foxes. This is terrifying prioritising of issues by our current Prime Minister.
The former Home Secretary became Prime Minister almost by default. As leadership candidates dropped out of the race she took on the role uncontested. Her party didn’t even have the opportunity to vote for her as leader. When she did come to power she was very clear that there was not going to be an election until 2020 as planned. How quickly that changed. She refused to attend the Leaders debate last week and when questioned arrogantly claimed that she was too busy planning Brexit. This indicates where Teresa May’s mindset is. She doesn’t think that she needs to campaign to win this election, it’s already won in her mind and she is looking forward to the task beyond this election. With the exception of Friday evenings Question Time, she has avoided appearances with the public and was clearly not comfortable in that situation. Instead she has hidden, surrounded by approved audiences.
Yesterday she tried to claim that “enough is enough” and that the country has been too accepting of extremist views. May is correct, enough is enough. As Home Secretary and now Prime Minister she has overseen the reduction of the police force by 20,000 officers. Whilst all political parties promise restoration of police numbers, the Conservatives campaign of austerity brought them down in the first place. But she is correct. Enough is enough. She asks voters to judge her on her record. Immigration targets have not been met under her watch. Similarly radicalisation in prisons has not been addressed. Seven years of Conservative government has left the country vulnerable. The security services and the NHS both need money pumped into them. Cutting corporation tax won’t achieve that. Their austerity policy built upon the desire to lower the deficit has failed spectacularly and has been pushed back further to 2025. So what is the alternative?
Although the Tory friendly newspaper media have been battering him, the more Jeremy Corbyn has presented himself in front of the camera the stronger he looks. He is a man of principles. Some gave him a rough time for not clearly stating that he would press the red button to fire a nuclear weapon. This reveals a man who is not simply providing lip service to campaign promises. He realises what such an action means. Although an audience in York might be happy to condemn this planet to nuclear war the man who would be responsible was more burdened by that responsibility. His belief that peace comes with communication is also commendable and accurate.
He has been supported by Labour members, winning two leadership contests. Teresa May hasn’t won any. She wanted to make this a campaign about who you wanted to lead this country forward. The longer this campaign has gone on, the more that has been diluted. This is because we’ve now seen who is truly strong and stable and he’s wearing red.